So you can read my books

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SFUMATO ... again

Because a still, small voice murmured within me:
Someone needs to read this  today.


It is the term Victor Standish uses for the colorful metaphor he would like to use but that Alice's Victorian upbringing will not allow him to.

The most prominent practitioner of sfumato was Leonardo da Vinci,

and his famous painting of the Mona Lisa exhibits the technique.

Sfumato comes from the Italian "sfumare", “to tone down” or “to evaporate like smoke” ---
just like the contentment and peace of so many has evaporated in today's angst-filled world as with the Ft. Hood shootings.

Then, there is the Sfumato of modern life as indicated by the quote we all know --
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays   
In painting, Sfumato is the fine shading that produces soft, imperceptible transitions between colors and tones.
Many people, as in the Thoreau quote, live lives where everything merges into one grey expanse of loneliness and emptiness.  Some days more than others. 

But all shaded in that color.
They sit in the Mall, watching happy parents holding hands, laughing children scampering down the aisles --
and the contrast of that bright happiness jabs into the sfumato of loneliness in their lives.
But to quote Thoreau again:
“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau

Many times we see our own lack in those around us without truly seeing.

How many lonely men and women have you seen sitting at a dinner table together at a restaurant, lonely though married.
How much better to be alone by yourself than lonely with another person. 

You at least have the hope that one day you will meet your soul-mate.  The person ensnared in a loveless marriage does not have even that.
My mother and I used to envy those with large families during holidays until we were invited to a large family get-together.

The grandmother was wheeled into a distant corner and ignored while the young joked and laughed.
Her hollow eyes tore at us until we flat couldn't take it anymore.
Mother and I pulled up chairs and spent the evening bringing laughter to the eyes of that woman.  And we never envied large families ever gain.

There are spots of beauty all around us if we will but look for them.  So often we see what we look for.
We must be careful to tell ourselves the truth, for we will only hurt ourselves by seeing in the world around us the "proof" of our fears.
Our emotions are NOT created by what happens to us;
our emotions are created by what we TELL ourselves
about what happens to us.

"It is not what people say or do that creates your emotions,
but rather what you tell yourself about what people say or do to you."

The whole world is a mirror. 

To a person with an ugly soul, the whole world is ugly.  To the innocent, the world gleams with purity.
As you live out a day, ask yourself what the child you once were would make of the details around you. 
Look at the strolling cat outside your window or the scampering squirrel. 
Think of how you would describe what you see as you walk to a child needing a laugh.  You'll soon find yourself smiling.


  1. Victor has something to say about everything doesn't he? Such a
    nice message, whomever it's for.

    Couldn't see the vid, not available in this 'foreign' country. . .

  2. D.G.:
    Poo. Couldn't see the vid? There is an original Showtime series that evokes the spirit of Samuel McCord but in Victorian England.

    I will try to post that one.

    Victor is the KIM of New Orleans, wise beyond his years. :-)

  3. Never seen Penny Dreadful. Why are all the best series on movie channels? In other words, why are the major networks remaining content with the Same Old, Same Old??? How much CSI do they think we can stand?!? Don't answer that. Rhetorical question.

  4. Robin:
    Or Reality Shows which are cheap to make ... matching the content!

    Penny Dreadful will not be on until May --

    but my fear is that some might feel my FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE and DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE are copied from that series. Sigh. I wrote NOCTURNE in 2005 and HOUSE OF LIFE last year.

    Always something. :-)

  5. Thank you. Nice to get affirmation that my habit of seeing beauty and wonder everywhere is not 'rose-coloured glasses' thinking. There is ugliness in the world and in my life and there is also love, laughter and beauty. And I know which I prefer to dwell upon, while acknowledging the other.

  6. Elephant's Child:
    If the beauty is there, it is not delusion to appreciate it. It is simply obssession with the ugly to dwell upon the darkness.

    We become what we dwell upon so if we focus on the darkness, it becomes night within us.

    I think you are wise to fan the embers of beauty that lie around you. :-)